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'After craze caves in Tory right' to ignore ECHR rules on UK small boats | refugees

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Government sources have said Rishi Sunak has bowed to demands from right-wing lawmakers to allow Britain to ignore rulings by the European Court of Human Rights.

Backbench rebels are pressing the prime minister to toughen up the illegal immigration bill so that ministers can ignore interim decisions. One of the Strasbourg court’s Rule 39 injunctions last year blocked the government’s first attempt to deport asylum seekers in Rwanda.

These so-called interim measures are commonly used to suspend removal or extradition, often by asylum seekers who fear persecution if they are returned to their home country.

Between 2020 and 2022, the ECHR approved 12 out of 161 applications for interim measures against the UK government.

After days of wrangling with right-wing MPs, government sources claim amendments to the new law will empower the home secretary to “override” interim Rule 39 orders. According to the Times, the Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, was a key figure in achieving this success.

Another proposed change to the law would ensure that the only way to stop the deportation of rejected asylum seekers or criminals is to persuade a British judge that it would cause “serious and irreversible harm”, the sources claimed.

The Home Office is due to publish its own amendments to the bill on Thursday before it returns to the House of Commons for the next stage of debate and vote next week.

The bill would introduce measures that would prevent anyone coming to the UK illegally from claiming asylum and would allow them to be detained and removed.

A group of hardline parliamentarians was pushing for a much tougher approach to the Strasbourg court’s rulings while it resided at the European Conference of Human Rights.

A meeting with Tory MPs’ Common Sense group on Tuesday was said to have opposed the prime minister’s decision to ignore judges’ rulings in Strasbourg, which have led to the stalling of the Rwandan withdrawal plan.

But according to several of those present, Sunak told them that he had “skin in the game too” and was staking his own premiership on an explicit commitment to stop the boats.

A source close to the group said they realized the legislation “needed to be acceptable” to moderate backbenchers.

One of the rebel ringleaders, Danny Kruger, told the Eye newspaper: “My colleagues and I are grateful to the Home Secretary and the Prime Minister for working to secure most of the changes … we demanded.”

The Times said that the government’s chief whip, Simon Hart, had argued against making concessions to appease the rebels. A government source told the newspaper that Hart said ministers should table their amendments instead because there was no risk of being defeated, after predicting that fewer than two dozen Tories would stay out.

The complete removal of the UK from the ECHR, whose rights were enshrined in UK law with the Human Rights Act of 1998, was seen as problematic as the court was an integral part of the Good Friday Agreement that brought peace to Northern Ireland. .

In a separate disagreement at Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, Sunak claimed the Welsh government’s plan to pay £1,600 a month to asylum seekers was “paying” for small boats to cross the Channel. Is.

He appeared to suggest proposals to offer young asylum-seekers access to a basic income pilot running in Wales could encourage people-trafficking. The two-year pilot is open to Care Lever.

Sunak has been criticized after ministers reportedly blocked a Welsh government request for young migrants to receive free legal aid. A Welsh Government spokesman said: “We recognize that carers have a right to appropriate support as they develop into independent young adults.

“Many young people leaving care continue to face significant barriers to achieving a successful transition to adulthood compared to many of their peers.

“In line with our country’s vision of sanctuary, we want to ensure that unaccompanied asylum-seeking children are supported to rebuild their lives and are able to access the appropriate Welsh Government schemes and benefits to support their reintegration. not be stopped from.”

Home Office figures on Tuesday showed 5,049 people have arrived in the UK after crossing the Channel so far this year. About 113 persons were detected in three boats on Monday, which suggests an average of about 38 people per boat.